TREATMENT FROM THE JEPSON MANUAL (1993) previous taxon | next taxon
Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
For up-to-date information about California vascular plants, visit the Jepson eFlora.-->

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



David J. Keil, Family Editor and author, except as specified

Annual to tree
Leaves basal or cauline, alternate to whorled, simple to compound
Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, each resembling a flower, 1–many, generally arrayed in cymes, generally subtended by ± calyx-like involucre; flowers 1–many per head
Flowers bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, ± small, of several types; calyx 0 or modified into pappus of bristles, scales, or awns, which is generally persistent in fruit; corolla radial or bilateral (rarely 0), lobes generally (0)4–5; stamens 4–5, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, often appendaged at tips, bases, or both, filaments generally free, generally attached to corolla near throat; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, style 1, branches 2, generally hair-tufted at tip, stigmas 2, generally on inside of style branches
Fruit: achene, cylindric to ovoid, generally deciduous with pappus attached
Genera in family: ± 1300 genera, 21,000 species (largest family of dicots): worldwide. Largest family in CA. Also see tribal key to CA genera: Strother 1997 Madroño 44(1):1–28. See glossary p. 25 for illustrations of general family characteristics.



G. Ledyard Stebbins

Annual to perennial herb; sap milky
Stems erect, 0.5–1.5+ m
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, entire to pinnately lobed
Inflorescence: heads ligulate, many, in panicles; involucre cylindric; phyllaries in 2–several series; receptacle naked
Flowers few–many; ligules yellow or cream to blue, readily withering
Fruit flattened, short- or long-beaked; pappus of many bristles, falling separately
Species in genus: ± 100 species: ± worldwide temp
Etymology: (Latin: milky)


L. serriola L.


Annual from taproot, 0.5–1.5 m
Stems erect, prickly-bristly
Leaves few–many, oblanceolate to obovate, dentate to coarsely lobed, clasping, prickly-bristly on midvein
Inflorescence open; branches often widely spreading; heads in flower 4–6 mm wide; involucre in fruit 10–12 mm
Flowers 14–20; corolla pale yellow
Fruit 6–7 mm (including beak), light to dark brown, rough-hairy, several-veined on each face, unwinged, beak = or > body; pappus 4–5 mm, white
Chromosomes: 2n=18
Ecology: Abundant. Weed of disturbed places
Elevation: < 2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California
Distribution outside California: native to Europe
Flowering time: May–Sep
Synonyms: var. integra Gren. & Godr

previous taxon | next taxon
bioregional map for LACTUCA%20serriola being generated

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Lactuca serriola
Retrieve dichotomous key for Lactuca

Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
Show other taxa with the same California distribution | Read about bioregions
Return to treatment index page
University & Jepson Herbaria Home Page | Copyright © by the Regents of the University of California